Bold lone protests in Tibet by monk and layperson

  • A teenage Tibetan monk from Kirti monastery carried out a lone protest with an image of the Dalai Lama on April 26 in the Ngaba street where many Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009.
  • The solitary demonstration, which ended in the monk being beaten and taken into custody, followed a similar protest by a young Tibetan man in Manikengo town in Derge county, Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) in Sichuan on April 8.

Losang Tenpa, a 19-year old monk, staged his protest on April 26 with a hand-drawn Tibetan national flag wrapped around his head and displaying a photograph of the Dalai Lama. He walked along the main road in the town, renamed by Tibetans as ‘Heroes Street’ following the wave of self-immolations since Kirti monk Tapey set himself on fire at this location on February 27, 2009.

According to two Kirti monks in exile in India, Losang Tenpa called out messages of protest against the Chinese government’s policy in Tibet, until he was detained by police just moments later. A Tibetan source told Radio Free Asia that he also called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, and that he was beaten by police as he was being detained. (RFA, Teenage Monk Shouts Slogans Against Chinese Rule in Solo Protest). No further information is known about his whereabouts or welfare.

Losang Tenpa is from Me’uruma township, Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan (the Tibetan area of Amdo). He joined Kirti monastery at a young age and is studying in class nine of the preparatory school for Buddhist studies. Two Kirti monks in Dharamsala, Kanyag Tsering and Lobsang Yeshe, said: “Ngaba county remains under strict control by hundreds of armed police and special police forces deployed in readiness to crack down on protest. There are security forces confronting the ordinary public with their guns and surveillance cameras everywhere, and the atmosphere is very tense.”

On March 16, a 20-year-old Kirti monastery monk, Lobsang Palden, died after self-immolating on “Heroes’ Street” to mark the anniversary of a March 16, 2008 crackdown in which Chinese police opened fire on a crowd of protesters, killing at least 10.
(ICT, Self-immolations by Tibetans).

Lobsang Tenpa’s peaceful and solitary demonstration followed the detention of a young Tibetan in Derge (Chinese: Dege) county in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) western Sichuan for a similar lone protest. The Tibetan, whose name is not known, walked along a road scattering paper flyers and calling out slogans. On a video of the action that has circulated in social media, some muted whoops and cries of support can be heard from local people as the man walks by. What he is saying is largely inaudible, although a call for the long life of the Dalai Lama can be heard.

The young man’s action, in Manikengo town, ended with his detention and no further information is known about his whereabouts. Voice of America Tibetan service cited a Tibetan source saying that the young man may have come from Kyegudo (Yushu) in Qinghai.

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